Young African lawyers gathered in Niamey to discuss trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants


Niamey, Niger - 23 October 2017 - GLO.ACT participated on 12-15 October 2017 in the 4th Congress of the African Federation of Associations and Unions of Young Lawyers (FA-UJA). Young lawyers from over fifteen member states of the federation took part in the congress that, this year, focused on trafficking in persons (TIP) and the smuggling of migrants (SOM). Niger is primarily source and transit for country for TIP and SOM. An estimated 90 percent of migrants from West Africa, en route to Europe via Libya, travel though Niger. 

The congress was an opportunity for young lawyers of the federation to discuss pertinent issues with regards human trafficking and migrant smuggling. As a result of the congress, training workshops on topics such as multinational asylum, legal responses to human trafficking, migration due to terrorism and inhumane treatment of TIP victims are now being planned. In addition, a mock trial competition is also in the pipeline.

During the opening ceremony, several speakers succeeded each other on the podium, namely the president of the Niger Bar Association, the President of the OHADA Bar Association, the president of the Young Lawyers' Association of Niger and the president of the FA-UJA before the opening remarks of the 4th Congress, delivered by Mr. Marou Amadou, Minister of Justice. Mr. Amadou reminded the audience that Niger had become an epicentre for migratory flows. He said, "The smuggling of migrants causes the death of thousands of people. The desert has become, for the migrants, an open cemetery." He went on to say that "Niger has worked hard on preventive and punitive measures to respond effectively to migrant smuggling and human trafficking."

During an evening session, UNODC consultant Mr. Mustapha Ka facilitated a discussion of a paper on legal responses to TIP. The purpose of the session was to review available legal responses and tools to TIP and SOM in West and Central African States. The session had a strong focus on victims, especially women and children, and it was conducted to build the capacity of the young lawyers of the federation to address these crimes.

During his concluding remarks, Mr. Amadou, said that the government was reassured by the participant's commitment to protect the rights of victims. He expressed his thanks to the Young Lawyers' Association of Niger and to the FA-UJA for having made human trafficking and migrant smuggling the focus of the 4th Congress.

The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT) is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to provide assistance to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine. It supports the development of more effective responses to trafficking and smuggling, including providing assistance to victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and direct support mechanisms.


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